30 years ago today, My Bloody Valentine released their landmark album Loveless. The second studio album by the Irish-English alt-rock band changed guitar-based music forever and shaped the future of what you could do with guitar pedal effects and studio rack effects.
Loveless at 30
I went out and purchased Loveless on the day of release and so to hear that today this album is 30 years old feels strange. Possibly, because it feels like yesterday, and even now whenever I put that record on my turntable, I hear something new each time.
Personally, I think this album did a lot for guitar effect pedals and that reverse reverb supplied by studio rack effects is also unforgettable. Originally the Alesis Midiverb II and the Yamaha SPX 90 studio rack effects did all the reverse reverbs, but in 2021 we have pedals that can achieve these effects. Keeley even made a pedal that mimics the sound of the album called the Loomer, and yes, I own one.
Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher layered their offset Fender guitars, Jazzmasters, and Jaguars to great effect, and created a dreamlike state of alpha-wave inducing pulsations. The album took a long time to create and they used multiple recording studios to get it finished. as Kevin was a perfectionist and often used the whole studio as an instrument to make the sounds he heard in his head, he would get labelled as being a little awkward to work with. Shield’s recording methods and dominance of every detail apparently drove studio engineers crazy. They worked with seventeen producers from 1989-1991!
We recorded the drums in September ’89. The guitar was done in December. The bass was done in April. 1990 we’re in, now. Then nothing happens for a year really. So it doesn’t have vocals at this stage? No. Does it have words? No. Does it even have a title? No. It has a song number. “Song 12” it was called. And… I’m trying to remember… the melody line was done in ’91. The vocals were ’91. There were huge gaps though. Months and months of not touching songs. Years. I used to forget what tunings I’d used!
It is a great body of work even now, 30 years later and to celebrate its 30th Anniversary, I have added some videos of my favourite covers of the album below. If you have never listened to it, then today would be a good day to pop your MBV Loveless cherry.
Loveless Cover Videos